The African Growth and Opportunity Act
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), one of the defining characteristics of the trade and commercial relationship between the United States and Africa, will expire on September 30, 2015. So far, there have been heightened discussions both by African and U.S. policymakers on the post-2015 commercial relationship between the United States and African countries, excluding North Africa. These discussions have largely focused on whether to extend the current legislation, and, if so, for how long, and what elements of the current legislation should be changed. Although there have been propositions as to what may happen under different scenarios, these are not supported by hard empirical evidence and thus are not very useful in informing the design of the post-2015 relationship. As AGOA’s extension is debated, it is important to have empirically based analyses of how changes to the legislation could affect trade patterns as well as how changes in the global trading environment could affect U.S.-Africa trade volumes and African economies more broadly.